Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I'm Not A Conservative Anymore

Michael Gerson's column in this morning's Washington Post reminds me why I stopped being a conservative. I was a conservative because I believed in the founding principles of America, in a strong national defense, and in the free market as the best mechanism ever invented for the distribution of wealth. I trusted the private sector over the public sector, in spite of my many years of service in the federal government,

Gerson's column today describes how seven pro-life senators have prevented Senate action on the President's emergency plan for HIV-AIDS relief, which he wrote would help 3 million infected people. Gerson, himself a staunch conservative, concludes, " For all of conservatism's evident virtues, it can have one furtive, seedy vice: A justified suspicion of government can degenerate into an anti-government ideology -- rigid, stingy and indifferent to human suffering."

That indifference finally got to me in 1993, after seeing government indifference to the rioting in Los Angeles, and flipped me. I still hold to conservative principles of constitutional government, strong defense, and mostly-free markets, but I guess I’m not a conservative any more. So you’ll have to label me a liberal.


larry kosberg said...

What's in a name? The labels we create are for the convenience of people who have a need to feel part of a group of like-minded people. But with the convenience comes the sacrifice of individuality and the surrender of creative ethical judgment. Surely, whether labeled conservative or liberal, your evaluation of particular ethical issues would remain the same, based on careful, rational, compassionate
thought. Drop the label, it's unnecessary. Or call yourself a moral humanitarian. It would fit.

Bob said...

Good point; still, I like to identify, even when I don't completely agree. I'm a USC football fan, a free market (more or less) Dem, a moderate, a Redlands faculty member, an ethics teacher, a LATimes reader, a Laker fan, AND, now, a moral humanitarian.